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Winterfest kicks off Friday in Luverne

LUVERNE -- The community of Luverne will kick off the holiday season this weekend with its 10th annual Winterfest celebration.

This year's Winterfest theme is "Christmas Past and Present," with events planned Friday through Sunday. The festival is sponsored by the Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce and Luverne Electric Utility.

The main Winterfest event is the downtown Parade of Lights at 7 p.m. Saturday. The parade features about 20 entries from local churches and civic organizations to the city, fire and ambulance departments and a few businesses.

"We just look forward to it every year," said Dave Smith, executive director of the Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce. "It kind of kicks off winter for us. We invite everybody to Luverne to come and enjoy it."

Festivities begin Friday with story hour at 10 a.m. at the Rock County Community Library, a cribbage tournament at the Eagles Club starting at 6:30 p.m., the D-Light-Full 5K run at 6:30 p.m. (registration begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Rock County Community Pool), and the American Reformed Church youth presentation of "A Smokey Mountain Christmas: The Homecoming," at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theater. In addition, the Rock County Community Pool will host an open swim for adults and children from 6 to 8:45 p.m. Open swimming will also take place from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Saturday's events include a craft show, featuring more than 90 vendors, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Luverne Cardinal gymnasium; a parade of homes from 1 to 4 p.m. (tickets available at Carnegie Cultural Center), pictures with Santa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Santa's Shopping Center and Make & Take projects for youths in grades kindergarten through fourth from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a soup supper from 5 to 7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church.

Also on Saturday, Luverne Lanes will offer reduced-price bowling from 2 to 6 p.m., the Carnegie Cultural Center will host a "Festival of Trees," and historical sites throughout the community will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. The family of the late Charlie Braa, former Rock County Auditor, will also display Christmas trees at the Manitou featuring Charlie's ornament collection. Viewing of the ornaments will be in the Manitou's lobby from 1 to 4 p.m., with proceeds of the admission fee collected to go to the Council for Arts and Humanities in Rock County.

Following the 7 p.m. Parade of Lights Saturday, the American Reformed Church youths will once again present "A Smokey Mountain Christmas: The Homecoming."

Sunday's events include a dinner theater of "A Smokey Mountain Christmas: The Homecoming," with a 6 p.m. dinner at the church followed by the 8 p.m. performance at the Palace Theater.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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